Real estate and mortgage news website HousingWire announced Wednesday that it had acquired Real Trends, a publishing and consulting firm that is best-known for its influential rankings of real estate firms.
The acquisition brings Real Trends into a family of companies that includes HousingWire and FinLedger, a financial news site, all of which are operated under the umbrella of HW Media. Real Trends President Steve Murray will continue with the company in a “senior advisory” role, according to a statement. Murray’s consulting work will continue as a separate endeavor under the name REAL Trends Consulting.
Murray told Inman that as a senior advisor he will continue to write, produce vidoes and record podcasts for Real Trends. He will also help with event planning, but otherwise he will try to “stay out of the way” of the HousingWire team.
Tuesday’s statement further explains that as part of HW Media, Real Trends will continue publishing its influential annual rankings such as the Real Trends 500, the Thousand and others. Real Trends also will continue producing its two events, the Gathering of Eagles and DealMAKERS.
Murray said he wasn’t initially looking to sell his company, but he and HousingWire CEO Clayton Collins first began talking about a year ago. Murray quickly realized Collins and the HousingWire team were good at growing publications, and that they shared a general attitude about how to do content.
“Their publication philosophy was very similar to ours,” Murray said. “Which is: Report the facts and the stories as accurately as you can and let the chips fall where they may.”
A potential deal between the two leaders was temporarily put on hold in the spring as the coronavirus pandemic threw the economy into chaos. Talks resumed in August. Murray added that Collins is “a great young man” and said he looks forward to working more with him.
Four out of five Real Trends team members will transition to HW Media. Murray said he couldn’t share financial details about the deal, but did add that he and Collins “reached an agreement very quickly” on Real Trends’ value.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Murray added.
Murray co-founded Real Trends 34 years ago, and over the decades grew it into a well-respected consulting, ranking and research company. The Real Trends 500 — which ranks companies by transaction sides — is routinely covered by the media, including Inman, and landing a top spot on the list is a prestigious accomplishment that brokers and firms often foreground in their marketing.
Most recently, HomeServices of America landed the top spot on the list.
Tuesday’s statement notes that HousingWire properties “will immediately benefit from Real Trends reputation and success in the real estate industry, just as Real Trends will be able to leverage HousingWire’s growing audience and capabilities.” The statement adds that the combined companies will “reach over 11 million real estate, mortgage and fintech professionals each year.”
Collins said in the statement that the acquisition is “incredibly strategic” for his company. He also said it “not only accelerates our presence with real estate agents and brokers across the U.S., but also brings new capabilities to” HousingWire.
“Through this acquisition we’ve not only gained an amazing brand and business,” Collins added, “but also an incredibly talented group of team members that bring additional editorial, technology and product expertise to our team.”